Friday, January 29, 2016


Trust                                                       01-29-16

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV) 9  Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
10  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
11  Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?
12  And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

I heard something this week that went something like this. God designed us to function in community. He did not create a bunch of  Lone Rangers that neither needed nor trusted one another. Now at the risk of being labeled an insensitive brute, I must confess that I am not one of those that seek and study about relationships and how to improve them. That may be to my shame, but as my friend Amanda says"I'm just being honest here." (smile) 

As I went about my business this week ,I suddenly realized the level of distrust I have.I think it was the talk swirling around the debates and whatnot that set me to thinking.  I began to take stock of the candidates, Republican and Democrat and concluded that I don't believe a word ANY of them say. They and the entire political process occupy the zenith of my distrust .That view being justified or not, I began to look elsewhere,and with an honest assessment, concluded that I didn't trust very much at all. I wondered why and if that were a good thing. As I thought about it, that statement on community and the above Scripture came to mind.

Trust is one of those intangibles that doesn't lend itself easily to words. It is a feeling or a confidence isn't it? It is a reliance upon someone or something that believes they have your back. But here is the truth about trust. It takes years to build and seconds to destroy. An errant word or a selfish act can destroy years of building.

That Scripture in Ecclesiastes declares that this life is easier if we travel it with someone else. For when we go through a difficult time they are there to help us. But, that presupposes that we have allowed them into our lives doesn't it. We have trusted them with some(not necessarily all) of the intimate details of our life. We have become transparent and somewhat vulnerable,right? Therein lie the danger of trusting in another doesn't it? We allow the possibility of attack or abuse and the resulting pain that accompanies it. It's scary. Especially if we have been on the receiving end of a betrayal or attack. Once bitten, twice shy.

We put up walls and if we aren't careful, we isolate ourselves from everyone; and, it seeps through in our dealings with one another. We begin to feel, talk and act as if we need no one. I once had someone tell me that someone very close to them kept telling them that they didn't need them. "Don't think that I NEED you to do this or that I NEED you to do that. Don't think that I NEED you for anything." Ever hear that? Yeah we all have I'm sure. Just an observation here. It seems to me that kind of talk usually is underlying an attempt at manipulation or intimidation.That's my take on it. However, just one problem with all that tough talk. What? You say. Just this. You say that enough to someone, whatever your intent,one day they wake up and discover or decide that they don't need you either!! That street runs in both directions.You feelin'me here?

I remember that line in the movie "The Shawshank Redemption." "Hope is a dangerous thing." Well, so is trust. You open yourself up to disappointment and hurt. It just comes with the territory. We can walk it by ourself or walk it with somebody.

 Psalm 13:5 (ESV) 5  But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

God Bless




Friday, January 22, 2016


Declutter                                              01-22-16

Snowcalypse 2016!!!  We here in Knoxville are battening down the hatches for the snow has arrived! Activity is grinding to a halt. At any rate, some personal thoughts and reflections this week.

Luke 12:15 (ESV) 15  And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

The world Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland is generating some interest this week and a new study has revealed that there are 62 people who own more than the 3.5 billion people who occupy the lower half of the world's population. Then there is the report that discounts this new finding, saying that the methodology used in determining that number is faulty and biased thus rendering the first report untrustworthy. Whatever. I will leave that to the experts. Let me bring this down to a more personal level. 

Shelley and I are in the process of reorganizing and cleaning our house. Trying to find a place for everything shall I say it?......Challenging. The sheer amount of "stuff" just in our little ol' house is crazy. Bluntly, there isn't enough room. Capisci? Literally as I write this, I am looking at an internet article that Shelley must have printed, entitled the "91 Day De clutter Challenge." After seeing this article a couple of days ago while surveying all the stuff, I turned to her and said  that we were indeed pack rats,  I said "we need to become 'minimalists.'" Then she responded with a remark that sparked this week's blog. She said in effect that the reason that she (and me too) were pack rats was due to a "poor mentality." I inquired after her and she explained that the mentality had taken hold of her during a time of need in her life. She felt as though she needed to store stuff for fear of not having it in the future when she might need it. 

We've all heard the stories of the depression era folk who lost their trust in banks and put all their savings in the mattress. My grandparents were members of that generation. All their hard earned money kept close because of a well founded distrust of banks.Ever done anything like that? I have, more than once. Only problem I have is that instead of stressing out over the trustworthiness of the banks, I now have to stress over the possibility of  a fire, or a burglary wiping out all of my hard earned savings.(BIG SMILE) So what are you gonna do? Huh? Tell me. Can't put it in the bank, it might go belly up. Can't leave it at home for stressing about it being destroyed or stolen. Can I get an AMEN here?!

While pondering my dilemma the above verse strolled into my consciousness. lol. Why this verse I don't know. In this particular verse Jesus is talking about covetousness, but the word I was hearing was trust. Unless you are one of the above mentioned 62 or, if you have been stranded on a desert island somewhere, then you have probably heard about the economic, financial, moral storms that have been brewing in our world, lo these past few years. The doomsday scenarios and their causes are many and varied. And all, in this writer's opinion, have at least an element of truth in them. Some more, some less.But, ALL contribute to weakening of our faith don't they?  The Apostle Paul called them imaginations or arguments that exalt or raise themselves against the knowledge of God. Not only that, we are in a struggle against these "strongholds" taking possession of our minds and hearts.   

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (ESV) 4  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
5  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 

Brothers and sisters, the Lord Jesus promised us an abundant life. 

John 10:10 (ESV) 10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 

Now whether this promises material abundance I don't know. It certainly doesn't preach that way in many parts of our world does it? And for sure it doesn't condition it on our faith or lack thereof as is commonly taught today. Maybe, and I believe this is it, it promises a life of freedom. Freedom from constant worry. Freedom from ulcer producing stress. Freedom from trusting in ''stuff" that can be lost, destroyed or stolen.

Listen, do you really believe God has a problem with us having a bank account or a "mattress" account if that is your thing? Do you think that He is against us having a decent home or car?No, of course not. As a matter of fact, the Bible teaches the wisdom of putting a little back for a rainy day. It's only when those possessions become strongholds in our lives and we begin to trust in them instead of God, that we are flirting with danger.That truly is a "poor mentality." And the really sad fact is that it is possible to be one of those 62 and be shackled with that mentality. Material wealth isn't a factor in making that determination is it?  It is when we find ourselves leaning in that direction; when we begin to worry about how we are to protect the stuff, that it is time to "declutter" our minds and hearts.To bolster our faith and trust in the owner of it all. Amen?

Psalm 24:1-2 (ESV) 1
 The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
2  for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

God Bless     

Friday, January 15, 2016

Blood In The Street

Blood In The Street                                         01-15-16

1 Samuel 30:6 (ESV) 6  And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

I awoke this A.M. to this ominous declaration. A financial analyst for one of the major financial houses was explaining his take on the current state of affairs in the financial world, particularly the stock market, that being his field of expertise. His comment predicting that the market had further to fall because there was not yet "enough blood in the street." An expression used by financial guys to describe the condition of a market sell off. I was not acutely distressed, due to the fact that I had as Warren Buffett puts it "no skin in the game." lol. However, for many who do have skin in the game, this is, putting it mildly, distressing.

This "distressing" financial scenario playing itself out today seemed to be a nice fit for what I had been mulling over the past couple days. You know the story,or if you don't here is a brief summary. David had had a run of "distressing" days himself. Read on.

Not quite crowned King David had been in the care of the Philistines while hiding from the soon to be deposed King Saul. As the Philistines were preparing to go to battle against Israel, the Philistine Generals wanted David gone because they did not trust him. In spite of his loyalty and proper behavior while in Philistine custody, the generals would not hear of it. The Philistine king reluctantly gave in and informed him that he had to go. 

So, he takes his men and sets off for Ziklag, a Philistine city where they had left all of their possessions. More importantly, their families, wives, children and all had stayed behind in the city. While David and his men were marching back to Ziklag, the Amelekites attacked the city and took all their possessions and their families captive. Look at the carnage that David and his men saw as they approached the city.   

1 Samuel 30:3 (ESV) 3  And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 

They saw nothing that gave them any hope. In the natural, there was no sign of hope. ALL had been burned with fire and NO ONE was anywhere to be found. David, along with all his men had lost everything. Families, possessions....GONE.
And now for the real kicker. The men, "people" in the Scripture, turned against David. After a time of mourning, they wept until exhausted, the "people" turned against David and "spoke of stoning him." Imagine David's surprise.

These were the same men who earlier(see I Samuel 22) had rallied around David and he "became their commander." Now they were turning on him, considering killing him......and HE HAD DONE  NOTHING WRONG! He didn't deserve it did he?Indeed, David had lost as much, if not more to the Amalekites. Nevertheless, for whatever reason, he was being blamed for the whole ordeal. My,my we humans are a fickle lot are we not? Anyway..

David has invested a goodly part of his life in the men who decided to follow him. He had a concern, even possibly a responsibility for their welfare; and here they were ready to stone him for something that was outside of his control. Add to that the aforementioned fact that David had lost his family too and you get the picture don't you? 


And rightly so.But, and here is my point, look at what David did. He strengthened himself in "the LORD his God. Note the emphasis on "his." Not the LORD, no.......the Bible says the LORD HIS God. Get my drift? I went to a commentary for a perspective on that word "strengthened." I believe some translations use the word encouraged. At any rate, that word strengthened implies a confidence that comes from knowing that one is doing the right thing. In other words, David's heart was right before God. He was following the Lord God as best he could. He had a CONFIDENCE because he followed the Lord HIS God. 

Don't you think that David was tempted to react in the same manner as his men? To find a scapegoat. Someone to blame their misfortune on? Do you imagine that the enemy of David's (and yours and my) soul whispered something in David's ear. 

"Well David, where's your God now? He has turned His back on you and your family. And these men are blaming you and they are going to kill you. Your God can't be trusted."  Hmmmm......No this isn't in Scripture.BUT, does it ring true with your experience?  

And here is what sets David apart. Look very closely at this.

 1 Samuel 28:15 (ESV) 15  Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.” 

All you need do is focus in on that word "distress." You see the anointed King Saul when under the pressure of distressing circumstances, turned to a medium. A witch. Saul well knew the God of Israel. It was that very same God that had anointed and chosen him as Israel's first king. But, one wonders if that God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was Saul's God. The Lord HIS God. I expect only eternity will provide the answer. That was the difference between Saul and David. David knew the Lord HIS God.and had confidence that He could deliver him out of his distressing circumstances.

Hasn't changed much in three thousand years has it? God is still calling us isn't He?
Actually God is SHOUTING isn't He? How do I know that? Look around you. Is the world system and all its collective wisdom a comfort to you? Can you and I put our confidence in the gold and silver? Is there peace of mind to be found in the political process or any other process? I will leave you with this thought.

My friend Shields the other night told me that he had been listening to a Christian radio program at night. He said that he falls asleep every night to the people calling in.And he says this. The people that call in are scared to death. They are panicked because they don't know what to do or what is coming next. And then Shields said this. He asked a rhetorical question. Very simply this. "Why don't people get to know the Lord Jesus?" Profound in it's simplicity.

You need to know the Lord YOUR God. I need to know the Lord MY God. We need to know the Lord OUR God. Amen?

 Psalm 100:3 (ESV) 3  Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

God Bless



Friday, January 8, 2016

For All Us Lumps Of Clay                                   01-18-16

Romans 9:20-21 (ESV) 20  But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”
21  Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?

I listened and read this week about a young man of God describe the possibilities of a life lived for God. This fireball recounted the many miraculous moves of God in the lives of past spiritual giants. Men like Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake, the Welsh Revival and so on. Men and movements where God moved miraculously, healing the sick, opening blinded eyes, even raising the dead. His point being that these kinds of happenings are not imprisoned in the past. Indeed, the church today has access to that same power, if only they will seek God with all their heart. I personally have never been in the presence of someone being raised from the dead; but, one thing I have learned over these 65 years..God can and actually does ANYTHING He so desires. I discount none of the stories and testimonies of those heroes of faith.

That being said, here's a slightly different perspective that may or may not be relevant to where you and I live. For all us lumps of clay out there.....this is for us! What do you mean Ronnie? Let me try and explain.

The real heroes of the Kingdom of God  are the lumps of clay aren't they? For every Smith Wigglesworth there are a hundred unseen nursery workers. For every Daddy Seymour or Billy Graham there are thousands of folks that contribute of their time, effort, and money to the furtherance of God's Church and His Kingdom. No fanfare, no applause, just quietly going about their business. These are the REAL heroes of the Kingdom. And herein lieth the lesson.

Whenever I hear of someone seeking the POWER and MIRACLES of God, I tread cautiously. Whenever I find MYSELF preoccupied with asking God what I can ACCOMPLISH for Him, He always seems to give me pause.How so Ronnie? He points me to a lump of clay. Watch a kid sometime playing with Play Dough. Better yet watch the Play Dough and observe what it does. Just what does Play Dough do Ronnie? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. It just sits there with no aspirations of it's own. It doesn't try and make something, anything of itself. It makes no demands or even requests. It initiates NOTHING.

All it does is sit or stand motionless waiting on the child to do whatever they wish with the clay. And my goodness, what the child does to that poor ol' Play Dough.Usually the first thing that happens to that lump of clay is it is squeezed and disfigured until it no longer resembles the nice round or oblong lump that came out of the container. Then, more often than not, the lump is exposed to being torn apart, thrown, mashed, pounded and whatever other word describes the molding process. Until mercifully the clay, now resembling something unknown from it's original shape emerges . And here is the salient point. The clay has now become the image of what the child wanted in the first place.

Isn't that what God desires of us? Let me tell you something. God has called me to be a lump of clay. It is as simple as that. Now that does not necessarily mean that I will forever STAY a lump of clay, but in truth that is God's business isn't it? My job is to sit on the shelf, remain soft and pliable and be MOLDABLE whenever God comes calling. It is not my place to actively seek my role in God's plan. If I am smart, I will yield to the refining and reshaping that God has in store for me. That reshaping may be into the image of a Smith Wigglesworth or Billy Graham; OR, it may be into the shape of a doormat in the Household of God. You feelin' me here?

You don't have a pulpit ministry? Welcome to the club. You are not standing in front of multitudes calling down the miracles of God? Glad to make your acquaintance.Let's have lunch sometime. Oh, but listen. Are you, like that Play Dough willing to allow God to make anything He wants of you? Are you contentedly being shaped into that vessel of honor that God desires you to be? Then take heart brother or sister, God has a plan and a reward headed your way. 

Let all of us "lumps" take heart in this.     

Psalm 40:2 (ESV) 2  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

God Bless

Friday, January 1, 2016

at the beginning

At The Beginning                                                 1-1-16

Proverbs 1:7 (ESV) 7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.


Another one bites the dust. 2015 has given way to 2016 and to round aboutly plagiarize "The Who,"  "Meet the new year, same as the old year."I ushered the New Year in on I-40 and I-81 delivering the local paper to the carriers who would take out the New Years Edition to those who were fortunate enough to be spending the holiday in the comfort of their homes.

As I rode around last night, I was able to spend a while contemplating what the New Year might hold. I thought and prayed about what I would like to see happen in my life this coming year. And, I prepare to write those dreams and aspirations on paper. I was persuaded to begin writing my prayer for the New Year many years ago by my friend and confidant Pastor Doug.It really is amazing to go back and look at past years prayers to see just how God has answered those requests. If you have never written out your prayer for the New Year, you really should try it.

Just a short comment this week concerning the New Year and new beginnings.The above verse stuck with me this morning. It seemed appropriate to write about beginnings on the beginning of the New Year.As I have mentioned many times past, it seems that the Lord has been hammering home the idea of a personal relationship with Him; to the exclusion of all else.It BEGINS with God.All else is second hand isn't it? Look at this.

Hebrew Strong's Number: 7225
Hebrew Word: ‏רֵאשִׁית‎
Transliteration: rēʾshît
Phonetic Pronunciation:ray-sheeth'
Root: from the same as <H7218>
Cross Reference: TWOT - 2097e
Part of Speech: n f
Vine's Words: Head

Usage Notes:

English Words used in KJV:
beginning 18
firstfruits 11
first 9
chief 8
miscellaneous translations 5
[Total Count: 51]

from the same as <H7218> (ro'sh); the first, in place, time, order or rank (specifically a firstfruit) :- beginning, chief (-est), first (-fruits, part, time), principal thing.

Strong's Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.

That word "beginning."

It means FIRST in place, time, ORDER or RANK. The chief or PRINCIPAL thing. Let that sink in this first day of 2016. As we once again BEGIN the year(the 66th for me) we are admonished that contrary to what the world says, the FEAR of he Lord is the BEGINNING of knowledge.

The reverence or respect for the one true God is the starting point for our success. Is that how you read it? Name then, and the list is long, all the various challenges to the truth of that statement. Where is that less traveled path we hear about that leads to happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment? 

Is it the pursuit of higher learning? A noble path for sure. However, we live in an age where at the flip of a switch or the "google" of a subject opens us up to unending amounts of knowledge collected from untold sources available to us in a nanosecond. Yet, with all that, the world and those in it continues on its death spiral.

Is it the chasing of that fickle butterfly called wealth and riches? I read last week that in the biggest and most glamorous city, in the richest and most glamorous country, 60,000 yes that's right 60,000 people would spend the night on the street and most likely hungry. In New York city alone ,60,000 people are without even the basic necessities of life. The richest country in the world cannot take care of it's own.

Well, maybe we can throw ourselves into the political process. Surely we can find someone who is capable of leading us out of the abyss that we in this country find ourselves in????........?????? do I really need to try and address that?

Let us then lend our efforts to climate change in the hope of saving our planet for future generations. Or how about the debt crisis or the identity crises(plural, lol), or the wars in the middle east and in ALL parts of the world. Surely we can be points of light in such a dark world. Return to the top and read it again. Or you can read it right here.

 Proverbs 1:7 (ESV) 7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. 

Oh yes, we are in dire straits and desperately need people to involve themselves in the problems of our world. I do not debate that truth. But, I will tell you the way it was told me. If we want "answers " to the problems that plague our world today,..more importantly, if we want the solutions to the challenges and attacks that confront us in our personal lives this new year, then we need to stop depending on second hand information. "What's that you say" Yes, that's right, second hand information. 

The opinions of what is wrong with this world are as numerous as the grains of sand on the beach. The reasons for our frustration in finding fulfillment and peace in our own lives are as many as the stars in the sky. Some would say those reasons can be found "in the stars"!!(smile)

All the while God sits in glory and quietly points us to the way. We search and seek out everyone and everything except the one who MADE the whole shebang. Not only that, He is the one who MADE YOU AND ME! What better source to begin our inquiry into the mysteries of this life?

"RONNIE! Stop depending on second hand information"

Brothers and sisters God is a great God. In spite of my efforts to derail myself, He watches over, protects and looks after me like a doting parent. He cleans up my messes.He guides my steps. He picks me up when I fall and loves me when I fail Him.He provides for my needs and wants AND He is going to take me home when my time on this earth is up.You hearin' me here?

All He wants is a relationship with us. All He wants is for us to spend a little time with Him before marching out to save the world. And the bottom line is that despite all of our efforts, religious or otherwise, that is all we can truly offer Him. All that we have to offer and all that He wants is our hearts.

Folks, Fox News ain't got it. CNN doesn't either. Republicans, Democrats, climate change, save the name all amounts to second hand information. Here's the Apostle Paul's take on it.

 Philippians 3:8 (ESV) 8  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 

At the beginning of this new year, let us secure the knowledge that surpasses all understanding. Let's find a place somewhere, anywhere and get alone with God.Dispense with leaning on second hand information and go straight to the source.At the beginning of this new year, let's seek the beginning of all knowledge and wisdom. Amen? Amen!!

Psalm 1:1-6 (ESV) 1  Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2  but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
4  The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the

congregation of the righteous;
6  for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

God Bless